Tag Archives: perfume

Rihanna Rogue: Hiding a Surprise

rihanna3
www.styleite.com

I was in my local chemist yesterday waiting a long time for my husband’s prescription.  The fragrance of the week was on the counter, and like a moth to a flame, I naturally had to completely drench myself in it.  It was Rihanna’s Rogue, which I had never tried before. Expectations were low.  A little cynical voice in my had said “Nah, just another celeb-bandwagon-thingy” and as I smelled it I thought “If this was air freshener it would be called Vanilla Bouquet”. I was unimpressed with the initial melange of fruit, flowers and vanilla overkill and thought little more of it.

But wait! After getting home about half an hour later I sniffed the air and thought “I can smell Serge Lutens Daim Blond”. That’s the second time this week my olfactory memory has come up with the file on Serge Lutens.  It must be the universe’s way of telling me to buy one.

www.styleite.com

I looked on Fragrantica to see if I was alone in finding this similarity.  I was not.  Well sort of.  Several readers voted that Rogue smelled similar to Bottega Veneta, which in turn is also voted on as smelling like Daim Blond, so indirectly we were on the same page ( well the same site anyway). With a base note of vanilla and suede, Rogue is like a slightly less smooth version of Daim Blond’s distinctive suede and apricot finish.  Rogue is not as seamlessly blended, nor as long lasting, but it is about one sixth of the price.  Neither does it have apricots, but rather plums and vanilla, but the similarities rang out nonetheless.

So whether it was homage or a happy accident, fans of Serge Lutens Daim Blond may have a low budget treat on their hands.

Here it comes…

I found love in a hopeless place.

Stockists

Rihanna Rogue is widely available.  Try Amazon UK, Lloyds Pharmacy, or allbeauty.  It’s currently on offer for around ten quid. Serge Lutens Daim Blond is available from Escentual and Amazon.com.

Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue: My Lofty Classic

5th

 

Elizabeth Arden fragrances,although  very reasonably priced, can be hit and miss:

Hits: Fifth Avenue, Untold, Green Tea and all its flankers, Sunflowers Summer Bloom, Blue Grass

Misses: Sunflowers, Red Door, Mediterranean, Splendor, True Love.

My lists are of course purely subjective, but I would add a great big thumbs up to Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue, which I am reviewing today. It deserves a place right at the helm of the Hit list. Fifth Avenue was created in 1996 by legendary nose Ann Gottlieb  and to me, it has stood the test of time where others have fallen.  With it’s light feminine florals and its warm amber base, I would go as far as to say it has a lot in common with Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps.

lazada.com.ph
lazada.com.ph

I mistakenly thought that Fifth Avenue was all about freesia, but in fact I find there is no freesia in it.  Instead, it is chock full of the most classic florals, namely rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, violet, iris, tuberose, lilac and carnation. If flowers had their own version of Who’s Who , all these would be in it. Rather than being cloying though, this floribunda of an accord is lightened with citruses in the opening gambit, bedding down to a floral base with hints of white musk and amber.  Unlike several other Elizabeth Arden scents, lasting power is pretty good.  I thought I’d lost it after an hour or two, but it wafted back to me in the evening when I let my hair down (in the literal sense, I didn’t go and party when the kids were in bed).

I like Fifth Avenue so much that I have a 125ml bottle on my dressing table and its sky scraper style bottle dwarfs my collection with its lofty glass column and its gold lid. I call this a classic, and I call it great value too.  It’s a pretty safe bet as a gift too- it’s sure to please anyone who likes floral scents without killing bystanders ( Hey, Angel, I’m talking to you!)

Stockists

Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue is currently available for a bargain price  at allbeauty.com and is widely available on your High Street or on Amazon UK.

Paco Rabanne Olympéa  

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

Ah Paco Rabanne!  That shy retiring wallflower of the fragrant firmament! So meek and subtle…you would barely know it was there…

Anyway, getting back to reality, Paco Rabanne, ( who are still getting dirty looks off me for creating 1Million), has launched another heavy hitter in the form of Olympéa.  I tried it today and I have to say that whilst there is a lot to respect and admire, it’s not my cup of tea or pot of jam.

Opening with a blast of creamy vanilla and white flowers, this is so thick, rich and heavy that I am surprised it is a summer launch.  I thought there was a miniscule droplet of Oud at its heart, but I was mistaken- but that might give you an inkling at how heavy this is.  Two hours later it has bedded down into a woody sweetness, that, were it not for the vanilla, I would possibly have liked more.  It’s faded a lot though in two hours, so I’m not blown away by its longevity- I had to sniff hard to find it. Vanilla isn’t going to go away anytime soon, so I guess I have to suck it up until it passes.

Nevertheless, Olympéa will do well on its own without my perfume dollar.  To me though, it was like extract of crême brulée with extra double cream and vanilla beans on top of that, covered with sugar with a heady bunch of jasmine next to it on the table, interfering with the food.  One bite is all I’d want.

Stockists

Paco Rabanne Olympea is available from The Perfume Shop, Boots, and Escentual.

4160 Tuesdays Pillow Talk: Come Here

 

escentual.com
4160 Tuesdays

 Pillow Talk is one of the latest launches from Sarah McCartney, Grande Dame of 4160 Tuesdays. Sarah doesn’t over- launch or saturate us, but neither does she let the grass grow under her feet.

 As always, there is a charming backstory to it.  A Hollywood Agent dropped into 4160 HQ at Issigonis House ( it’s very nice, like a parlour) with the idea of launching her own scent.  Whilst that project didn’t have lift off, the resulting perfume did and is now Pillow Talk.

 Pillow Talk was intended as the smell of a shared pillow upon which secrets are shared as intimacy grows. To me, it brings to mind hotel rooms rather than bedroom: Posh country hotels where you go for a mini break once the dating has hit its stride and you tell them that you were secretly married and have a police record, and they don’t mind because they have a love child in Venezuela- you know how it goes…

Darling, I have a love child in Venezuela...
Darling, I have a secret love child in Venezuela… (Express.co.uk)

I will say though, that this has a strong accord in common with 4160 Tuesdays Sexiest Scent on The Planet Ever (IMHO), so if you don’t like that I’m not sure this will be your  cup of tea (Earl Grey, of course)

 As visual as it is, and I find all 4160 scents very visual,  I could not find a way into Pillow Talk, so I asked my son.  My son Freddie is nine and memorably declared that Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac smelled like “hot sand” .  So I sprayed my arm and said “sniff this and say the first thing that come into your head” and without hesitation, he said “Liquorice”.

escentual.com
4160 Tuesdays

It did!  Liquorice!  Not listed, not included, but somehow, there is a hint of liquorice in this.  I often find this happens- my nose finds a random note that has gone rogue.  Either liquorice is in my olfactory memory and imprinted on this scent, or two notes have a baby and make a third note out of the juxtaposition. Either way, I smelled Liquorice.

 Liquorice was was my way in.  Once I had liquorice, it opened a portal into heavy, dark woods (dark oak panelling  for some reason) which in turn led to vanilla, but not sweet shop vanilla, more drunken boozy liquor,  then a fuzzy background of bergamot, followed by indelicate flowers.  No petals, no tweeness: this is ladies’ talc on a thigh.  It’s a bit spicy, but there’s no spice.  It reminds me of the smell of the bed just after my lovely husband has left it, before his shower: a masculine undertow, but faded from the day before. The intimacy is there, and a tiny hint of complacency has set in. So what if I left make up on the pillow?  He already fancies me….

 Pillow Talk scores a ten on the nuzzle-o-meter

Stockists

You can buy all 4160 Tuesdays scents from the website, and recently Escentual has started stocking them too,  Further stockist information is here. My sample was kindly sent to me by Sarah McCartney, to whom I am enormously grateful. Opinions are my ow

The Body Shop Italian Summer Fig EDT

 

figbox

 

I popped into my local Body Shop today and was delighted to see a classy display of fragrances in beautiful faceted glass bottles.  There were the regulars: Atlas Mountain Rose and Fijian Water Lotus among them, and a new fragrance I hadn’t seen before that had a summery looking green juice.  That fragrance was Italian Summer Fig and I can report that it is truly scrumptious.

 

Telegraph.co.uk
Telegraph.co.uk

Fig works very well in summer,  after all, its good enough for our continental cousins who know a thing or two about heat.  It reminds me of perfumed sultanas:  the fruit is deep and rich, yet aromatic and tangy too. With obvious comparisons of L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier drifting in and out of my scent memory, I helped myself to several squirts and ten hours later I can still smell traces of it- not bad for an eau de toilette.

The notes, according to our trusty friends at Fragrantica, are:

 Top notes: Fig, green notes and vine

Middle notes: Rose, saffron and floral notes

Base notes: Oak and amber

In fact, on me, although it opens and closes with fig, there are definite traces of flowers, especially rose, and I got a whiff of woodiness at the end, which I always thinks  complements fig so well

Italian Summer Fig makes a refreshing choice for summer and I applaud the Body Shop for going down this route rather than the more traditional mainstream routes so often found in summer. My only criticism is that I like to see purse spray versions of new scents available so you can make your mind up before buying a full sized bottle.  Marks and Spencer does this and I love treating myself to an affordable handbag spray. You can get purse sprays containing some of the other fragrances in the Body Shop range for £5 for 10ml, so maybe this plan is in the pipeline.

 Stockists

 Italian Summer Fig  is available from the Body Shop in store and online and retails at £18 for 50ml. Ancillary products are also available so you can layer the fragrance  nicely.

 

Library of Fragrance Salt Air: Holiday Time!

World of Oddy Photography
World of Oddy Photography

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a big fan of Library of Fragrance.  It allows us to be grown-ups and mix and match our own choice of scents when we want to go rogue i.e. when we don’t want to buy the latest over the counter launches that don’t suit our personal taste- or at least that’s why I buy them.

Library of Fragrance

But that’s just one angle when it comes to the purpose behind Library of Fragrance.  The other thing they manage to do so well is to produce scents that are evocative of a time or place or scene.  Not only do they produce a wide choice of scent for day time or evening wear, but there are many of us, and you might be one too, who sometimes want to smell like the beach or the garden or Christmas, and that’s where Library of Fragrance comes in.

Today I have been wearing Library of Fragrance Salt Air, (well actually the last couple of days to be precise, I’m addicted). Salt Air successfully encapsulates the exact holiday smell of when you’ve been on the beach all day.  There is a salty tang and an uplifting ozonic scent that doesn’t veer into imitation L’Eau D’Issey territory as ozonic so often can.  Salt Air is the tang of salt, the fresh surf of the sea crashing onto the shore, and a whiff of something clean, like sun cream without the coconut, or that fresh smell of holiday bed linen as your salty sea sprayed head hits the pillow on the first night.

doggie
World of Oddy Photography

Sea Air is gorgeously clean smelling and uplifting and is very much a Feel Good scent. Longevity is surprisingly good- remember that these are colognes, but they always have much better longevity than you would expect from a cologne. On me, Salt Air lasted over four hours before I needed a little top up.  It’s totally unisex too and would smell equally good on a male or female.

Salt Air is one of my favourite Library of Fragrance scents- and I have reviewed many of them, because, what can I say?  I’m a fan of the brand.

Pop Salt Air into your holiday luggage, or better still, wear it when you’re not on holiday for that seaside feeling all summer long.

World of Oddy Photography
World of Oddy Photography

Stockists

Library of Fragrance Salt Air is available from the Library of Fragrance website and Boots also carries a selection in store.  My sample was from the fabulous Perfume Society Jet Set Discovery Box, which you can buy here very soon.

 Photos

All seaside photos are of Whitmore Bay ( aka Barry Island) and taken by my very talented friend Alison Oddy of World of Oddy Photography or check out the Facebook Page here.

Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss: Don’t Kiss Me!

redkissbottle

 

I tried Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss today in my local Perfume Shop and was soon wishing I hadn’t.  I took a thorough squirting on arm and sleeve just in case it was in danger of fading before I got home.  It wasn’t.  It’s still there seven hours later, refusing to leave.

The funny thing is, my interpretation of this is completely different from its description.  Described as a Gourmand Floriental (which I think is kind of a cop out covering three crowd pleasing categories) I found Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss to be a sickly, cloying, sticky, overly sweet candy cane mess that me feel hot and sticky and bothered as the day went on.

According to trusty Fragrantica however, Loverdose Red Kiss is replete with nuts, apples, blackcurrant , bergamot and sugar, with an ambery finish.

sweets
Photo by www.weheartit.com

Unfortunately I got sugar, sweets, chews, lollies, candy floss and sticky strawberry ice cream sauce. Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss made me want to brush my teeth and wash it off my arm.

You may like it.  You may get the tantalising promise of bergamot and blackcurrant, but I didn’t. Oh wait!  A whiff of toffee apple lollies  there. And a synthetic vanilla finish.

To get a good idea of my view on this, eat 24 strawberry lollies  and wash them down with cherryade and custard.

If you’ve tried it, do share your view with me.  Just because I don’t like this, doesn;t mean I’m right.  Perfume is like poetry- there’s no right or wrong interpretation.

Stockists:  Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss is available from The Perfume Shop and Amazon UK to name but a few.

weheartit.com
The Perfume Shop

Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto

manifesto

Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto is not to be confused with the magnificent Manifesto by Isabella Rossellini, of which I’m a big fan

I knew nothing about YSL Manifesto before trying it today so had no preconceptions.  I generally like most if not all YSL fragrances though, so I had high hopes.  High hopes that were dashed.

I know all too well that they don’t make all mainstream perfume just for me:  if I don’t like a scent that doesn’t make it bad, but this lemon meringue pie of a scent was all wrong for me.

Despite containing lily of the valley, jasmine, bergamot, blackcurrant, vanilla and Tonka bean, all I could smell was vanilla and creamy lemon pie, with maybe a blackcurrant coulis- a mere trail a la nouvelle cuisine.  This smells so much like dessert that I simply don’t want it on my skin.  Years of mopping up after messy sons have put me off smelling of food so I’m not really a gourmand fan.  I have mellowed recently and  lost many of my perfume prejudices by keeping an open mind, but smelling of lemon syllabub is a step too far for me.  Oddly enough there are no lemons in this at all, but then again, I couldn’t find any lily of the valley or jasmine either: they were supposed to have turned up but ended up being a no-show.

My overall impression is that Manifesto doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.   It’s not quite a gourmand, not quite a fruity floral, not a chypre, not a floral.  It’s just a sort of a mash up.

Of the two Manifestos, I’ll be voting Rossellini.

 Stockists

YSL Manifesto is widely available .  You will find it in Boots, Amazon UK, House of Fraser and Debenhams to name but a few.   Overseas you can try Sephora or Amazon.com

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Yardley Contemporary Classics: English Rose

www.superdrug.com
www.superdrug.com

 

Yardley is one of those classic, trusty brands where you can be assured of quality.  It’s a refreshing change to find a range of fragrance that isn’t constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.  As trends come and go, fans of classics can often find themselves left out, but we can always fall on back on Yardley to provide us with the traditional, simple scents that every fragrance wardrobe needs.

Yardley English Rose is a simple rose  done very well.  It goes on at first spray smelling like delicate rose breath sweets, which at first made me think of Parma violets, but this is purely rose from start to finish.   Despite being an Eau de Toilette, it is light enough to feel like a refreshing eau de cologne, but the lovely light airiness sticks around much longer than it would for a cologne.

On Fragrantica, there are several notes listed:

Rose and Geranium are in the top notes, white flowers are in the middle and the finish consists of spice, musk and woods.  To me, that hint of geranium provides the spice, although the rose is dominant throughout.   The finish is a beautiful clean musk that had me sniffing my arm and wondering when I’d sprayed white musk on that day. Coupled with the roses, it makes a beautifully feminine accord.

This beautiful rose is ideal for layering with musks or even a heavy oriental- it could lighten it up for daytime wear.  Yardley English Rose works best for me in summer though, wearing florals and smelling like them too.

This is unbeatable value at around £10 for 50ml, and sometimes the 125ml bottle is around that price too, if you shop around.

Stockists

Yardley Contemporary Classic English Rose is widely available from Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, Amazon UK, Boots and many other stockists throughout the UK.

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